Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakota Life will wrap up its 65th anniversary year with Gibbs Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 25. The Ramsey County museum, located at 2097 W. Larpenteur Ave., will give visitors a peek of Halloween celebrations of the past: making popcorn balls, finding pennies in the haystack, a costume contest, trick-or-treating at the Gibbs’ farmhouse and more.
Gibbs celebrated its anniversary year with a summer Saturday series of talks that explored the farm’s amenities: the tipi, the animals, the gardens and restored prairie, and the “soddy,” a log home with a prairie roof, as well as its regular annual events: Pioneer Sampler, Dakota Day, Apple Festival and Gibbs Halloween.
Gibbs Farm Museum opened on Oct. 2, 1954, thanks to Ethel Hall Stewart, a St. Anthony Park resident who grew up on Bayless Avenue in the late 1800s. She married her childhood sweetheart, Clarence Stewart, and they made their home on Commonwealth Avenue. Ethel Stewart is credited with being a hardworking historian for the area. She helped the Ramsey County Historical Society acquire the Gibbs farm, where Jane and Heman Gibbs established a home and farm in 1849.
The museum’s farmhouse is the original house built by the Gibbs, which they moved into after living in a dugout sod house. The remains of that soddy were excavated and the museum built a replica sod house. Over the years, the museum has expanded to incorporate a Dakota-style tipi and replica bark lodge to allow visitors to explore the traditional lifeway of the Dakota. Visitors can also see a native prairie, Dakota medicine garden, and traditional Dakota and pioneer crop gardens. The schoolhouse at the site was built in the 1880s and was moved from Chippewa County, Minn., in 1966.